Every manager knows the power of positive reinforcement. But when it comes to recognition, sometimes the best intentions go slightly awry. Why? Recognition practices and programs impact each individual differently, whether positively or negatively.
The best way to determine what your employees really want: Ask them! Recognition surveys can uncover individual preferences in how employees are recognized and perceptions about the quality of your program.
Consider public recognition. For some, being honored in front of one’s peers represents an ultimate high. Others will do practically anything to avoid being put on display! Personally, I love receiving praise and recognition but I’m uncomfortable drawing that attention in front of a crowd. Not what you’d expect from a salesman, right? That’s why you may find it helpful to take a reading of your employees’ feelings when planning for your recognition banquet or event.
Where your program is concerned, take any criticism with a grain of salt. A common complaint in surveys is that the awardee feels that the awards are not a good representation for their years of service. This might be a result of poor award choices provided by your service award vendor (if it isn’t Award Concepts!) but is more likely a result of sticking to your budget. If your budget is $200 for a gift at the 20-year level, but the awardee feels he deserves a gift worth $500, you’ll never meet this person’s expectations.
Another complaint: things break. Sometimes the item is faulty. Sometimes it’s used improperly. In either case, make sure your employees know to contact the service award vendor immediately for replacement. At Award Concepts, we include a note to that effect along with each award we send out. We go to any lengths necessary to make sure your awardees have a positive recognition experience. And we look at each comment as an opportunity to improve.
Case in point: An awardee received a chiming wall clock from our collection. Although the clock itself met his expectations, he “wished that the chimes had been more pleasing to the ear.” In response to this survey comment, we’re currently looking into adding an audio file to items like this so one would be able to hear the chime before ordering.
Survey results can be enlightening and sometimes disappointing. Just keep an open mind when reviewing and interpreting the results and look at every response as an opportunity for improvement!